There have been some verbal exchanges at the UN between the Israeli and Lebanese envoys to the General Assembly. While some have been terse and less-than-productive, Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the UN, spoke directly to Lebanon's representative Friday in an effort to explain Israel's actions over the past several days, specifically to eradicate Hezbollah from existence. It's been since reported that Israel, through an Italian diplomatic intermediary, indicated it would immediately halt its offensive upon the safe return of its kidnapped soldiers and the withdrawal from Southern Lebanon of Hezbollah -- whether voluntarily or by command from the Lebanese government.
"You know, deep down, that if you could, you would add your voice to those of your brave countrymen. You know, deep down in your heart, that you should really be sitting here, next to me, voicing the same opinion," said Gillerman.For its part, Lebanon has hinted -- but not yet committed -- it is considering the expulsion of Hezbollah in an effort to a) retain some measure of its sovereignty, at least in Southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah operates much as the Taliban operated throughout Afghanistan prior to 9/11; and b) to reclaim the peace between Israel and itself that was implemented with the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.
"You know that what we are doing is right, and, if we succeed, your country will be the real beneficiary. I am sure many of our colleagues around this table and in this chamber, including many or our neighbours, share this sentiment," Gillerman added.
The key here is that the International Community, responding to calls from Lebanon for a cease-fire, has essentially condemned, en masse, Hezbollah's unprovoked kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Aside from Muslim nations -- and many of same have quietly, without naming Hezbollah specifically, have also condemned the use of terrorism specifically with regard to this specific situation -- almost all nations who have sounded off on the conflict have done so against Hezbollah and Lebanon. France and Russia have done so as well, although they have noted that Israel's response seems excessive.
When it was suggested by an interviewer on Fox & Friends on Friday that Israel's response to Hezbollah's actions were disproportionate to Hezbollah's actions, former Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu used the example of terrorist groups in Mexico or Canada firing rockets onto American soil at American civilians. "You think you wouldn't respond with great force?" he asked.
Keeping in mind that Iran and Syria are public supporters of Hezbollah, the rest of the International Community has rejected Lebanon's hope for international mediation because it is Lebanon, with unspoken assent from the aforementioned Iran and Syria, that legitimizes Hezbollah's existence, not just in Lebanon but in general. Also keep in mind that Hezbollah, aside from Al Qaeda, is responsible for more American deaths due to terror attacks than any other group.
In the meantime, the war of words -- and misinformation -- continues. It seems that any asshole with an Internet connection and an agenda can spew forth without being held to the "Bullshit!" standard espoused at the beginning of this and prior posts.
An example of this comes courtesy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations located in Washington, DC. CAIR, as it is known, issued a statement condemning Israel's offensive against Hezbollah:
"Israel has stated clearly, and demonstrated through violent actions, that it is attacking civilian targets in Lebanon in order to achieve a political goal. This is the very definition of state terrorism.
"Our nation cannot maintain credibility in condemning acts of terror carried out by individuals and groups, while offering diplomatic cover and material support to a state that is engaged in a brutal campaign against an entire civilian population."
Israel is attacking a terrorist group that Lebanon has invited and authorized and protected on its territory. Israel is attacking a terrorist group located in Lebanon only after that terrorist group violated Israeli territory and kidnapped Israeli soldiers. And further, Israel is attacking targets which will facilitate the transfer of those kidnapped soldiers to another country, namely Syria or Iran.
Lebanon is, either by omission or comission, permitting and endorsing state-sponsored terrorism -- not Israel -- in allowing Hezbollah -- an internationally-recognized terrorist group -- to operate in its territory (all of Southern Lebanon is under Hezbollah control) and by permitting Syria and Iran to fund this group, Lebanon is, indirectly, sponsoring anti-Israel terror.
With all due respect to CAIR, any group or entity branding Israel as a perpetrator of state-sponsored terrorism is lacking in credibility. Further, CAIR's claim that Israel is engaging in a brutal campaign against an entire civilian population, yet again, deserves a "Bullshit!" Israel's campaign has been hampered by their concern for the civilians in the areas they have targeted. Terrorists have taken shelter in civilian neighborhoods, and Israel has gone to great lengths -- announcing imminent attacks, dropping leaflets, etc. -- warning civilians to minimize casualties.
Here's a link mentioning Israel warning civilians rather than targeting them. Here's another.
From the former link: "In both the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, Israel has dropped leaflets warning civilians to stay away from places where terrorists gather and launch their attacks." From the latter: "Shortly after the attack, the head of Israel's northern command, Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, warned civilians in southern Lebanon to head north because 'in two or three hours we are going to attack south Lebanon heavily.'"Hezbollah, on the other hand, is firing rockets into highly-populated towns (eg Haifa) to maximize civilian casualties, rather than attempt to target military targets. Hezbollah used an Iranian drone aircraft to attack a gunship; other than that, their exclusive defense has been firing missiles and rockets into civilian towns.
Perhaps CAIR, as much as the Lebanese and Hezbollah mouthpieces, should -- with regard to credibility -- practice an attempt thereat rather than pointing fingers at Israel or the US.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa called the Middle East peace process "dead." Speaking at a news conference after a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt, he said the peace process failed "because certain powers have given Israel every capacity to do whatever it wishes."
I wonder to what certain powers he is referring. Hezbollah, for illegally entering Israeli territory and kidnapping -- without provocation -- Israeli soldiers? Lebanon, for knowingly and happily inviting and harboring a terrorist group and granting it authority to operate on its soil? Syria, for supplying funding, weaponry and assistance to Hezbollah? Or Iran, for supplying Hezbollah with rockets/missiles and unmanned aircraft capable of assaulting Israeli naval vessels?
I understand the use of rhetoric as a tool within the cramped confines of geopolitique; however, when flowery language and verbal intimidation fail to operate, I wish there were a middle ground between rhetoric and all-out war, like that we're witnessing between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
I wish there was someone in the middle who would, finally, shout "Bullshit!"